Football management appointments for the season ahead

With the football leagues set to commence on Sunday we take a look today at the men in charge of the various teams that will be taking part and what the season could hold for them.

More than a few clubs are already involved in pre-season activity and it is set to be a busy day with the recent county committee meeting informed that Division One Football, Reserve, as well as Minor (U17) to go ahead on that day.

Division One

Kickham’s Creggan are the current holders of the Division One title with the Eddie Fitzsimmons memorial trophy residing in their Staffordstown road club rooms at present and they have installed their management team for 2023.

Gerard Mc Nulty has held the reins for a number of years and he retains the position again with his brother Thomas alongside, together with Peter Mc Collum and former Derry great Enda Muldoon.

Creggan lost out in the race to secure their hard earned senior championship title last term but they gained compensation in the league title with their second team taking the reserve championship as reward for endeavours.

Erin’s Own, Cargin regained the senior championship last term and went on to contest the Ulster series.

The Toome men made progress to the semi-final stages having got the better of the Donegal champions in a memorable game at Corrigan before losing to Watty Graham’s, Maghera.

 The Toome men have retained the services of Ronan Devlin, the man that held the reins on that journey to the last four in Ulster and he is highly regarded around Cargin and he will assisted again this term by Kevin Doyle, and Fabien Muldoon.

The Toome men will have an extended panel this term with a strong youth squad expected to figure prominently in the league.

St Mary’s Aghagallon did not start the 2022 season at all well and languished much too close to the relegation zone for peace of mind but the St Mary’s men found their stride in the latter stages to retain their division1 status and made it all the way to their second successive senior championship final.

Aghagallon have appointed former All Ireland winning manager Pete McGrath and he will be assisted by Pete McGrath (jnr) and the men from the Antrim/Armagh border will be striving to go one step further this season and they are certain to be well prepared.

Casements Portglenone enjoyed a good 2022 league campaign and the Bannsider’s concluded with a very respectable 3rd place finish.

They also made it all the way to the last four in the championship and looked set for the final until the last minutes when a Ruairi McCann late strike gained the coveted place for Aghagallon.

Former player John McKeever retains hold of the reins for another term and will be aided by Adrian Mc Keever, Tommy Dobbin, and Barry Mc Erlean and his charges could again be up there in the running for honours.

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass enjoyed a good 2022 season and lead the second division all season before claiming the title to easrn promotion to division 1.

Former players Hugh Carey is the man again in charge at St. Ergnats and will be assisted by Simon McCloy from the Loup as they look forward to life in division 1 in 2023.

The road ahead for the St Ergnat’s men will not be easy and if they are to make impact a good start is essential.

St Johns hold the record in Antrim with a total of 24 senior football championships and an Ulster title but the Corrigan Park side have not ascended the podium since 1998.

Aaron Douglas retains the managerial position at Corrigan being assisted by Benny Marron, Conor King and Kevin Cunningham.

The Johnnies can never be discounted but dual status makes life difficult but the Corrigan men cannot be dismissed.

St Gall’s have claimed 19 county titles and reigned as Ulster and All Ireland champions and can never be discounted in the race for honours in the county.

The Milltown men have not gained a podium place since back 2014 and they have been busy rebuilding since.

Paddy Mc Shane, a former player heads a management team which includes Sean Burns, Gary Mc Girr, Simon Kennedy, Paul Walsh and Sean Kelly (snr).

The Milltown Blues have been rebuilding over g the past few and they may well be ready to provide a strong challenge for honours in 2023.

O’Donovan Rossa have gained in stride over recent years and they underline this with a win over Cargin in the group stages of the championship last term.

The Shaw’s road side are possibly hampered by their dual status, similar to their near neighbours and closest rivals St John’s.

Rossa havereappointed Hugh Mc Gettigan to the management role with Michael Kane and Paul Close alongside.

Rossa are more than capable of putting it up to the best in the county on their day but their dual status may hamper their endeavours again in 2023.

St Mary’s Ahoghill retained their division 1 status yet again in 2022 and although more than a few had forecast a place in the second grade, the Clooney men came strong when all seemed lost to retain their place in division 1.

A dual club with limited numbers, the St Mary’s men claimed the Intermediate Hurling title and are always competitive on both fronts.

Former player Chris Mc Glone has been installed as manager with his assistants yet to be named and although they will be asked questions aplenty in the year ahead the St Mary’s men will not be found wanting.

St Enda’s Glengormley have been there or thereabouts over the recent past but although they are a difficult side to get the better of, they await the breakthrough in senior football league and championship.

The Glengormley men have retained the services of Carl Mc Cabe as their senior manager for the season ahead with his backroom yet to be finalised and the former St Gall’s man is one of the best in the business.

St Enda’s have a strong side with several Antrim men in their panel and they are more than capable of providing a strong challenge to all.

St Brigid’s dominated the county juvenile scene again last term with both minor (U17) and under 20 titles secured and the South Antrim men should certainly be contenders in the senior ranks sooner rather than later.

The seniors will be led by John McGuckin and Patrick McGuckin in a joint management role, and they will be firmly in pursuit of a elevating the profile in the Musgrave camp.

The South Belfast side may well provide a challenge to all this term but such will require improvement with recent new arrivals a positive step and they may well be on the way to making a strong challenge…

Lamh Dhearg have knocked on the door of success consistently over the past decade with a senior title gained back in 2017 but they are always amongst the  challengers for honours.

They lost to Cargin in 2022 but they can never be discounted in the challenge for honours.The Hannahstown side have appointed Deaghlan Bunting and Steve Ramsey as management this year, assisted by Mickey Boyle and Steven Bunting.

Always formidable opposition to all, the Lamh’s are certain to be firmly in contention again in 2023

Tir na nOg did enough to retain their division 1 status for 2023 following promotion from division 2 in 2021 and will be hoping to build on last year’s performances.

Tyrone native Aidan Taggart is the new man in charge with the experienced Oran Mc Neilly by his side.

The Whitehill men had a long injury list last term and if they can get everybody fit for the coming season then they may well prove strong opposition for  many of the sides in the division.

Division Two

Cuchullain’s Dunloy are reigning Intermediate champions remain in the second grade and they may well prove strong contenders in the second division.

The Cuchullian’s will be in senior championship in 2023.

Anthony Mc Quillan still holds the reins assisted by Martin Laverty and although they will face a stern test in Senior championship they may well prove contenders in the league.

Patrick Sarsfield’s had a good 2022 season and although no trophies came their way the Paddies signalled strength in depth with their appearance in the under-20 B decider. They that one to Creggan but only went down by a couple of points.

The Paddies have appointed Colin Toal, Tommy Logan and Niall Banks in the management roles and the Bear Pit residents may well prove contenders in this grade 2023.

Gort na Mona struggled in the top grade last year and were relegated despite a valiant effort in the latter stages of the competition to retain their top grade status.

The Enright Park side will start the year in the second division but if they can retain the form shown in the last few weeks of division one competition in 2022 they will be in with a chance of a quick return to the top grade.

The West Belfast side a strong management team with Declan McErlean, Niall Enright, Declan Hughes, and Caolan McMenamin in charge and the Gorts may well be in the running for honours in this grade.

St James Aldergrove have former Creggan player Adrian Dougan in charge and he will be accompanied by Paul Cushley and Declan Hannon and should be strong contenders for honours.

The Crumlin men proved a bit enigmatic in their performances last term but no doubt they are capable of better and if the new man in charge can light the proverbial fuse then Aldergrove are capable of a strong challenge.

St Joseph’s Glenavy endured a poor 2022 campaign and they had to dig deep at the end of season to ensure their place in the second grade.

The Chapel Hill residents are capable of much better and Martin Clenaghan and Gavin Philips have been installed in the managerial roles and if they can get the best out of their charges they can certainly raise the profile again on the Chapel Hill.

Michael Davitt’s started therir league campaign well last year but faded.

The West Belfast side are certainly capable when in the mood and if their man in charge for 2023, Kevin McParland can get the best out of his charges they may well be challengers.

The management will strive for consistency and they may well be up there as challengers.

Kickham’s Ardoyne are an ambitious club and have won a junior championship and promotion to division 2 few years back and performed well in division 2 in the last two years.

 Ardoyne have installed former Cargin player Martin Kane as their manager for 2023 with the new man in charge ably assisted by Brendan Mailey, Dee Fennel, and Paddy Mc Cullough and they could be challengers in 2023.

All Saint’s Ballymena were slow starters in 2022 and finished second in the league to St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass before losing to Glenravel in the Intermediate championship.

Liam Baker Bradley took the reins at Quinn Park last term and the Glenullin man retains that position with Jason Quinn and Gerard O’ Callaghan appointed as assistants.

All Saints have been playing in the Ulster Intermediate league this year but have an extensive in jury list and much will depend on when they can get these players back on board.

Con Magees Glenravel enjoyed a good 2022 campaign and reached the final of the Intermediate championship where they lost to Dunloy.

The Glensmen finished in a comfortable league position and have retained the services of former Bellaghy and Derry player Joe Cassidy who will be assisted by Paul Downey and Ian Hynds and they may well prove contenders in this division.

St Patrick’s Lisburn had an excellent 2022 campaign, gaining promotion from a very competitive Division three and they will return to the second grade in a positive frame of mind.

They had to dig deep to see of the challenge of a good St Comgall’s side and will hope to retain their status in division 2 this term.

St Patrick’s retain confidence in their 2022 management team with Cormac Mc Kenna assisted by Martin Kennedy, Stephen Brannigan and Myles Cahill again the men in charge.

St Paul’s may well reflect on the last season tinged with a little regret as possibly one that got away.

The long term residents of the top grade and the winners of a couple of senior titles are in the process of team building and the ultimate aim is a return to the top division.

The Shaw’s road side have appointed former player Donagh Finnegan in the management role assisted by Daniel Duffy and Daniel Martin and they could be strong contenders.

Division Three

St Mary’s Rasharkin were punished for a mediocre league campaign with relegation to division 3 and the Dreen men will be striving to make a quick return to division 2 in 2023.

 Stephen Hardy, Paul Baird, Paddy Mc Neill, and John Mc Taggart have been appointed in the management role and the focus will be on regaining promotion in 2023.

St Malachy’s had a fairly good season and the men from the Markets will be looking for improvement in the season ahead.

They have appointed Con Magees duo David and Martin Birt to the managerial role and such may well pay dividends.

Cardinal O’ Donnell’s had a good season last term, reaching the JFC Final where they lost to Pearses and they will be seeking to continue in such positivity in the season ahead.

The McCrory park residents have appointed Joe Herald, James Braniff, John Laverty, Michael Mc Allister, Gary Adams, and Michael Dorrian in their management team and they could be strong challengers in 2023.

St Comgall’s Antrim had to be content with the runner-up spot in the league last term but former St Paul’s and Antrim county man Niall Ward retains the management position at Dunsilly and they may well make amends in 2023.

Patrick Pearses enjoyed an excellent 2022 campaign completing their campaign with the Junior Championship in tow.

They have installed Gerard Ross in management to replace Tomas O’ Neill together with Marcus Kelly, and Sean Mc Donald and their charges may well prove contenders again.

Wolfe Tones, based in Greencastle is one of the youngest clubs in the county, and with such stalwarts as Enda Mc Atamney and Brendan O’ Hara within they have been seen to picked up the pace in the last couple of seasons, gaining in confidence.

The Tones have appointed Tony Curran as team manager to lead them further along the positive trail and the former St Enda’s Glengormley man, who also had a spell at County Down club Rostrevor, looks like a huge addition.

Laochra Loch Lao: The West Belfast based Irish Language club are still in their infancy but they have made steady progress of late.

They made notable management appointments for 2023 with former St Gall’s stalwart Padraig O’ Muiri, Daithi O’ Foinn, and Seamus O’ Tuama taking up the management position.

Eire Og: At the time of writing we have had no news of the Eire Og management for 2023

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